At least nine people have died in a gas explosion at a five-storey apartment block on Russia’s Sakhalin Island. This information was confirmed by the Russian news agency RT with reference to the regional governor Valery Limarenko on Saturday.

RT reports that the incident took place in the small town of Tymovskoye. Video footage from the scene showed several apartments completely destroyed in the blast.

Four children were among the dead, Limarenko said on his Telegram channel.

He also said there were 33 residents in the apartment complex, two of whom were still trapped under the rubble. Rescuers continue to search for survivors.

Tas news agency reported that nine people were injured.

The building did not have a central gas heating system and the accident was believed to have been caused by the explosion of a faulty gas tank, Tass said, citing emergency services. A criminal investigation has already begun.

(19 November)